Tag Archives: breakfast at tiffany’s

10 Manic Pixie Dream Girls From Film Adaptations of Novels

5 Jul
This post was inspired in part by Laurie Penny’s amazing article from the New Statesman earlier this week, and the equally thought-provoking response from Hazel of Freaky Trigger.

The MPDG is, by very definition, the girl of your dreams. She first became a trope thanks to Nathan Rabin’s review of Elizabethtown, in which he defined a Manic Pixie Dream Girl as “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures” – but she has existed in one form or another long before he ever coined the phrase.

We saw her in the fifties, when she manifested herself as Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief, and Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot. In the sixties she was Jean Seberg in Breathless. As the decades roll on, see also: Maggie Gyllenhaal in Stranger than Fiction, Natalie Portman in Garden State, and every character Zooey Deschenal has ever played – ever. Kate Winslet’s character Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind acknowledges the archetype and kind of rejects the label (“Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. But I’m just a fucked-up girl who’s lookin’ for my own peace of mind; don’t assign me yours“) – but ultimately, she’s MPDG incarnate.

If you want a better definition of what exactly a Manic Pixie Dream Girl’s role is, this Feminist Frequency video sums it up pretty succinctly:

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